28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end would be! 30 How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up? 31 For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.
In this passage, which is part of Moses’ song to the Israelites near the end of his leadership, Moses warns Israel to stop straying from God. Israel has waffled back and forth between worshipping other deities and worshipping God, and in so doing has become a very lost and divided people, even by the end of Moses’ tenure. (The Book of Joshua and Judges, next up in the Bible, show that this behavior continues even after Moses’ warning.)
God sounds pretty harsh all the way through this song, which might be understood better as a verbal warning from on high. But He’s warning the Israelites that if they don’t shape up and start following properly, He’ll have to show them what life is like without His blessings and protections. (Verse 30 shows one particular vision of combat with other nations without God’s protection.) Yet even the enemies of Israel acknowledge that the Israelites have a God Who is stronger and more powerful than theirs (verse 31).
All too often, we too forget how powerful God is in the pursuit of our rather self-sufficient lifestyle. We, like the ancient Israelites described here, sometimes act like a “nation without sense” or “discernment;” we don’t realize how our lives always rest in God’s hands. God often takes a backseat to other things in our lives, regarded more like a last-resort, “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” deity. But God does not want that kind of treatment, any more than our parents like to be treated like human ATMs or gift machines. He wants us to walk with Him, just as He wanted the ancient Israelites to do. That’s what Moses’ whole song is about.